Holidays usually invoke happy thoughts. But for some it is a dreaded time bringing sadness more than joy. Thoughts of not being appreciated or loved, missing a loved one through loss, loneliness (even in a crowd), disappointment and stress can be repetitive negative thoughts – like mental bullies. There’s truth in, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7).
A 19th Century pioneer in mind-body health, Mary Baker Eddy wrote, “Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionably to their occupancy of your thoughts.”
Research shows that methods like meditation and prayer help counteract negative thoughts. Author of ‘The Superstress Solution’ Dr Roberta Lee, says that people who use their spirituality to cope with life heal faster from illness, and they experience increased benefits to their health and well-being.
Peace is a big theme around best wishes for Christmas. Religious or not, we all need peace of mind. Scientists are proving, beyond positive thinking, that spiritual qualities such as compassion, forgiveness, gratitude and love heal the mind and body. And long before science as we know it, words (thoughts) from ancient healers also make sense today: “Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.” (Proverbs 16:24).
The word “holiday” partly stems from “holy day”. Wikipedia states, “the word originally referred only to special religious days. In modern use, it means any special day of rest or relaxation”. It is possible for each day to be a blessed day – a “holy day”.
For healthy holidays, refuse would-be bully thoughts. A change of thought can bring peace of mind.
Some tips from the Harvard Medical School newsletter (Nov 2011) include:
• Pray. People who are religious can use prayer to cultivate gratitude.
• Meditate. Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the present moment without judgment. Although people often focus on a word or phrase (such as “peace”), it is also possible to focus on what you’re grateful for (the warmth of the sun, a pleasant sound, etc.).
• Count your blessings. Pick a time every week to sit down and write about your blessings — reflecting on what went right or what you are grateful for.
• Thank someone mentally. No time to write? It may help just to think about someone who has done something nice for you, and mentally thank the individual.